Your Parish and the Web
There has never been more opportunity for parishes to publicize events, broadcast service times, introduce themselves to their surrounding communities, and reach out to newcomers, than they can today through the web. Even the smallest mission now has a simple and effective way to announce its presence.
While the Antiochian.org team doesn’t build individual church websites, we have assembled resources here to help you design and maintain your site, whether you have 50 members or 500. With today’s resources, many of them free, parishioners with little to no technical background can put together a serviceable website that will serve as a point of entry for seekers and Orthodox looking for a church home. Please let us know of new resources as they become available, at email@example.com.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese reports:
The Communications Department of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) have launched www.faithandsafety.org, a resource for adults to help children safely navigate online. The website and complementary social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) address safe use of the Internet, mobile devices and other technology, emphasizing the positive use of technology to support children's faith.
This article was originally published on the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) Diocese of the Midwest website by Joseph Kormos, Parish Health Facilitator. More parish development resources are available here.
Are you tasked with keeping your parish website fresh? Here are some tips.
Declutter your site and get all the ancient stuff out of there. Get six new people to tell you what's wrong with it and why they still can't find information on the current events. What did they try to find that they would never, ever find?
Tip # 1: Pick the right point person for the site.
Parishes sometimes try to run their website by committee. This breaks down quickly because there is no one person that is known for being the liaison for the site, and priests and parishioners don’t know where to turn when content needs to be added or there’s a technological issue. The point person can be tasked with maintaining the records of such things as ownership, account usernames, privileges and inventories.
The parish council and/or priest should look for someone who: has time and energy, knows enough about websites to run one (but not necessarily the techie guru of the parish), is consistent and known for following through with his/her commitments, and has a good relationship with the priest, church secretary and parish council. More than some parish jobs, this is one requires a steady babysitter. Nothing makes a parish look sleepier than a website featuring Pascha photos that are three years old, or service information that’s inaccurate.
Tip # 2: Pick the right system for the site.
Parishes always have limited budgets, and it’s a shame when they overpay for their site, or get sucked in to an overly complicated system with more customization than is needed. Many free or very inexpensive platforms are quite adequate for a basic parish site, and they are generally designed with web beginners in mind. Even if a parish has an expert capable of building something fancy, that person may not always be available, so the site should be simple enough that the priest or the Khouria can take over basic maintenance if necessary.
The bottom line? A simple site that works and stays up-to-date is more impressive than a fancy site that doesn't.
by Fr. Joel Gillam and Peter Schweitzer
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mt. 28:18-20)
St. Matthew’s Gospel concludes with Our Lord’s 'Great Commission', that we should “Go forth” and teach the entire world what He has revealed. This command is directed to every Orthodox Christian, to each and every one of us, through Holy Baptism. This is the mission that every generation is chosen for; the ministry that each of us as part of the royal priesthood offers (1Pet. 2:9). In order to fulfill this command we must know several things: 1) the message, 2) the people to whom we are delivering the message; and 3) knowing these things we must determine the means to deliver the message.
In the secular world, this is known as a communications plan. In the Church it is evangelism, bringing the people the Good News of Christ. In principle, what we are discussing is no different from any other communications plan devised by businesses, organizations, or political campaigns. Yet at the same time it is so that the world might know “God the Father, and Jesus Christ whom [He] has sent” (Jn. 17:3); the gift of eternal life. This is true mission work and evangelism.
Fr. Wayne Wilson, Senior Pastor of St. Barnabas, writes a greeting for visitors to the parish's new website:
"Welcome to our new parish web site. We designed it to give you a snapshot of our church community and our life together as Eastern Orthodox Christians. I hope that you can join us in worship and also give me an opportunity to meet you and introduce you to our fine parish members."
The new website features an block of professional-quality rotating photos, easy access to information for newcomers, a variety of spiritual writings and Orthodox news of interest on the home page, daily Scripture readings, and "Fr. Wayne's Corner," a priest's blog.